This may seem an odd topic for a consecrated Catholic hermit. But conversation, email-style, continues regarding issues of unhealthy marriage. And, in my own prayers and pondering (as just a bit ago when picking produce) the thoughts turn to some marriages of which I am aware, even of my own, short-lived relatively speaking, and years ago.
In most marriages in which the "dance" of disease has gone on for years, it is unlikely for there to be change unless each party desires to work on it, recognizes the unhealthy aspects, and may decide to also get some outside assistance for ideas and accountability. Unless both persons are spiritually in tune and brutally honest, used to doing examinations of conscience, a third-party, critical viewpoint is necessary. Even then, we have to accept others' perceptions and the facts presented as they see them.
Perhaps this is why spending much time writing about or listening to or reading the woes of unhealthy marriage situations, is rather a cycle of frustration and spent energy. It also is very sad to repeatedly hear or read examples in daily life of long-held, negative relationship habits.
But I pray for the persons. Yet I realize such topics keep my mind, heart, and spirit tethered to the spinning wheel of a cart that only stops when one or the other of the persons married, dies in some way or other.
And then I consider unhealthy marriages from another standpoint. I consider it with situations or any
"wedded" thoughts or habits. Like married couples who are imprisoned by one dominating the other with control, and the dominated one then dancing to a tune that has gotten the other to give a reprieve of some sort, we each may have a disease "marriage" or several, going on in our lives.
Yes, while out picking fruit, the fruit of the thoughts about the futility of discussing, reading, and corresponding about the woeful details of a diseased marriage dance--the fruit of the thoughts turned to my own temporal marriage with pain.
It is not difficult to consider being wedded to pain, especially this morning. The pain is quite dominant now, despite all the efforts to quell the argument pain is trying to stir in me, to dominate, to imprison. I must consider the coupling of pain as marriage, and then I turn to how Jesus wed the cross.
He wed the cross prior to His crucifixion. He wed the cross any time there was a conflict, a confrontation, an attempt by the devil using others and situations, to wed Him to unhealthy situations be it with people or things or thoughts.
This is the third morning in my acts of will and praying for grace from God to stop the diseased "dance" my mind and body and emotions have with high-level pain, my body and mind stripped of natural endorphins and awakening chained to a temporal spouse named Pain.
I consider it no different than those who have shared with me their imprisonment in their relationships, or imprisonment to their being wedded to perceived or real childhood abuses of one sort or another. How easy it is to blame another who by this time in our lives may be miles and decades away, or even passed on to the other side. Yet we remain married to the diseased dance we do with that or who is no longer alive in any shape or format, in this present moment.
Now, a living, actual spouse who has controlled someone in even small matters over the years, is a present moment reality if he or she continues to manipulate and oppress the other. And a situation such as chronic pain even if for decades present, is yet present in this moment.
The real crux of such unions is to face their reality and to see how foolish for us to remain imprisoned to such spouses--human or otherwise. We have wed them, or they have wed us. We agreed to it, in other words. And we allowed the manipulation and diseased aspects of the relationship to continue as we respond or dance with the diseased parts in ways that we've developed as rather pathetic coping mechanisms.
Perhaps this is why Jesus' telling us to think of things above, of God, rather than of that which is below, is the key to unlocking the cell doors to our marriages, to our unhealthy, wedded habits. Yes, even if married to a human, if the marriage is unhealthy and at a rather terminal point if both persons do not want to heal the issues, to stop the diseased dance, we can free ourselves by thinking of God, of shifting our thoughts and emotions and spirit beyond the prison cell we have locked ourselves into on earth.
We can try little ways, also, in the temporal reality, to change our bad relational habits. And by relational, I mean how we relate to people, thoughts, nature, things, and God. That is what I am attempting by changing what I think about upon first waking, each morning, with high level pain, my companion in this lifetime.
I am stopping the dance of unhealthy thoughts. I pray for those in human unions, a spouse or a friend or family member, that we take our thoughts, emotions, and spirits beyond any type of relational disease or imprisonment. We can recognize that we have given over power to such unhealthy "marriages", and the only foolproof way out is the spiritual way, the way of Christ Who Is the Way, the Truth, the Life.
Sometimes the situation we are in has us imprisoned to a point that we cannot easily discuss Christ or any aspect of the spiritual--at least in spiritual terms. Then we must do what is even more freeing: operate utilizing the interior senses, the interior Spirit, the deep abiding Source of His Real Presence Who Is within us, as we are within Him.
I admit it made me quite sad this morning to have someone share with me that the person has to ask the earthly spouse for permission to purchase a book! The spouse said, "No!" Why? It was because the spouse determined that the other had not been "nice" to him that day. Such disease as this and more examples than what anyone could stomach knowing about, occur in people's lives daily.
Just as it has occurred in my daily awakenings with my marriage to physical suffering. Now, Jesus wed the cross, and He did so with freedom. His cross did not imprison Him. He did not allow it to dominate His Spirit.
This is what I must do, also, by His grace and power and might, by His wisdom and lived example, by His Spirit. I must stop the cycle of the unhealthy aspects of my union with temporal suffering. I suppose this includes not spending time reading about nor advising those who are imprisoned in an unhealthy spousal relationship of which they have allowed matters to go on for years.
Other than, as for myself, repeat and remind as Jesus taught us: Think of that which is above, not of that which is below. As for buying a book or not, just buy it; don't ask permission. As for dark thoughts upon waking with too much pain, just stop them; don't let them take up space or time.